Archive for March, 2008

The Hammer
29 March, 2008

The Hammer is a funny comedy even if you don’t know or like boxing. It tells the story of a man who turns forty and struggles to finally makes something of his life through the vehicle, and metaphor, of boxing.

Adam Carolla makes his big-screen debut in this independent film. Known for his radio and television work, Carolla really nails the role of a quick-tongued, wise-cracking forty-year-old. (Of course, he is a quick-tongued, wise-cracking forty-year-old but that’s not important right now.) His real-life compatriot Oswaldo Castillo turns in a scene-stealing performance even though you can’t understand most of what he says. Heather Juergensen plays the love interest well, bringing a believable sincerity to the role. And for the Joan of Arcadia and Boston Legal fans out there, Constance Zimmer plays the ex-girlfriend.

Kevin Hench crafted a script that showcases Carolla’s lightning delivery, no doubt in part aided by his years of knowing Carolla. Charles Herman-Wurmfeld (probably best known for Kissing Jessica Stein), Marco Fargnoli, and Rich Fox keep the pace moving along well. For a small-budget, independent film, the score contains some well-known names.

Despite its inexplicable R rating, The Hammer is suitable for tweens and above. It provides likable characters and many laugh-out-loud moments. I recommend this film to anyone who likes comedies.

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Too Bold by Half
24 March, 2008

A site (that shall remain nameless) that I was reading today is that of someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. I say this to put a very annoying trait of the site into context: hyperlinks use some JavaScript magic to embolden themselves on mouse-over.

Obviously, I am keen on using a bold typeface for hyperlinks. I adopted the habit in the primeval days of the mid-nineties to make it easier for the reader to see keywords. A fellow who once was a reader complimented me on the technique and I’ve kept it since. So I have no objection to the emboldening per se.

Dynamically changing the appearance of the page can be made to work quite effectively. WordPress uses a fade effect rather nicely after an entry is posted. Tooltip windows are generally unobtrusive and do not obscure the item for which they provide tips.

What I find rather distracting is the dynamic emboldening when the mouse pointer hovers over the link. Changing the typeface makes a major visual change to exactly the user’s point of focus and causes cascading layout changes for the rest of the text of the paragraph.

Sometimes one can be too clever by half.

Apple Is a Tall Poppy?
21 March, 2008

John Gruber recently wrote about an idiotic Wired cover story about Apple. I only read Gruber’s analysis, not the article in question, so I shan’t comment on the article directly.

Some years back I was telling my friend who was born in India that I thought Indians had been fully assimilated into American culture. My justification was that I began hearing jokes about Indians from those who like ethnic jokes. Much like with siblings, outlanders are treated with kid-gloves but locals are fair game for abuse.

I have seen the same thing on development teams. When people don’t know the new guy, they err on the side of caution, not kicking the noob while they’re down. Once a mutual respect has been earned and they know the new guy is up to the challenge, the gloves come off and the kidding begins.

It seems that Apple has made a full recovery since folks are now taking potshots at them.

Employee of the Month
9 March, 2008

I can see how Employee of the Month got green-lit. The script shows promise but ultimately that promise remains unfulfilled.

It seems easy to blame Jessica Simpson but, while her role isn’t that demanding, she does a decent job. Andy DickBrian George, and Harland Williams all deliver. Because I don’t really care for his work and wanted to be unbiased, I intended to say the same thing about Dane Cook. Then I imagined how it would’ve played had Vince Vaughn delivered the lines instead of Cook. I think the movie would have been quite a bit better with that casting. So perhaps it was Cook’s fault.

It’s not a bad film, just a disappointment.

Every Second Counts?
2 March, 2008

Visa is running an advert for their check card where the slogan is “Every second counts”.

Really?

Of all the wastes of time in my life, having to sign a credit slip is the one that needs addressing? It’s more important than mandatory staff meetings, slow barristas, and left turn arrows with no oncoming traffic? Or perhaps Visa could save precious seconds of my life by not showing me the commercial in the first place.

Given all the hubbub about identify theft, it seems like a product that reduces authentication is a step in the wrong direction.